Dogs might have earned the reputation as “man’s best friend,” but dog bites are a serious issue that can result in life-altering injuries. The good news is that a Decatur personal injury lawyer from Kaine Law could help hold a negligent dog owner accountable.
If you sustained injuries in a dog attack, you deserve justice. A civil lawsuit or insurance claim against the dog’s owner could compensate you for your physical, emotional, and financial losses. A Decatur dog bite lawyer can explain your legal options and fight for the maximum settlement possible.
Can I Sue the Dog Owner?
If a dog attacked you without provocation, you might have a case against the animal’s owner. However, some unique challenges come with dog bite injury lawsuits that are absent from other negligence cases.
Georgia has not adopted a strict liability standard in dog bite incidents that other jurisdictions have in place. This standard makes dog owners responsible whenever their pet bites someone, regardless of whether the owner’s negligence contributed to the incident. Instead, O.C.G.A. § 51-2-7 allows a bite victim to sue the dog’s owner if the dog was “vicious or dangerous” and the owner was careless in their management of the animal.
Proving that the dog was dangerous or the dog owner was careless can be more straightforward than it seems. For example, Decatur’s municipal code requires owners to keep their animals on a leash while off their property. If a dog owner fails to comply with the leash law and lets their animal roam free, you could pursue compensation for injuries you sustain should it bite you.
For a free legal consultation with a dog bite lawyer serving Decatur, call 404-214-2001
When Is a Dog Not Considered Dangerous?
Decatur’s municipal code spells out specific situations where a dog “shall not be deemed dangerous.” In these cases, a bite victim might not have a viable claim for compensation against the owner.
These are the most common defenses to be aware of in a dog bite injury case:
- Trespassing on the dog owner’s property
- Provoking the dog
- Protecting the dog owner from an assault or other crime
While these defenses can upend an otherwise successful dog bite injury case, it is critical to speak with legal counsel before deciding on any course of action. Your attorney could review the case and advise you on all the legal options you have available.
Decatur Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me 404-214-2001
What Damages Are Available to Dog Bite Victims?
You could recover financial compensation for your physical and psychological injuries in a dog bite claim. In addition to covering your medical bills, you could be entitled to damages based on your other physical, emotional, and financial hardships.
Pain and Suffering
Dog bites often cause significant pain, regardless of the animal’s size. While larger dogs are more likely to cause life-threatening injuries, even bites from small dogs can result in severe pain—especially when a bite results in nerve damage. While it can be challenging to quantify your pain, our firm can help a judge or jury see the extent of your suffering and place a monetary value on the emotional damage.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Scarring and disfigurement are unfortunate results of many dog bite injuries. When a dog attacks, their bite can badly scar the skin. This disfigurement can be significantly pronounced when it occurs on the face. Scarring can be painful—both physically and emotionally. While the hardships associated with scarring and disfigurement are as subjective as your physical pain, our Decatur dog bite attorneys will fight for the compensation that fairly values its psychological toll.
Many dog bite victims cannot return to work following a dog attack. Unfortunately, when the healing process takes weeks or even months, the lost paychecks can add up quickly. However, the good news is you can recover your lost income from wages, bonuses, and fringe benefits while recuperating from your injuries, allowing your family to maintain its standard of living.
Past and Future Medical Bills
Medical bills can stack up quickly after a dog bite incident. These costs begin with the emergency medical care you receive after the attack. This care often focuses not only on the bite wound but also on the risk of infection. While your emergency care can be costly, you will likely require ongoing treatment, leading to mounting medical debt. Our team will fight for the maximum settlement possible to cover the total cost of your medical treatment, including any future care you might need.
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How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
No matter how solid your case for compensation might be, you don’t have unlimited time to pursue a dog bite injury lawsuit. You must comply with the statute of limitations in these cases, which is the legal deadline that applies to any civil court case. Generally, O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33 gives you two years from the date of the dog bite to file your lawsuit.
If you file your lawsuit after the deadline expires, the consequences can be severe. For example, the judge could dismiss your case with prejudice, meaning you would lose the ability to recover compensation through the court system.
Thankfully, our firm is ready to help you keep track of all the important deadlines in your case—including the statute of limitations. As a result, we can ensure you pursue compensation for your injuries on time.
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Call a Decatur Dog Bite Attorney Right Away
A dog attack can be a traumatic event that affects you for the rest of your life. While no one can undo what happened to you, a successful personal injury claim could provide you with the necessary resources to move forward in life.
You do not have to take on the difficult challenge of a civil suit alone. The Kaine Law team is here to help you seek the compensation you deserve through an insurance claim or a lawsuit. So, contact one of our Decatur dog bite lawyers today for your free, no-obligation consultation.